I have no idea, of course, if she actually lived here; for all I know, this modest (then) one-room cabin was rented out to hired help on the local farms. But I do believe that it was she (and, no doubt, her husband, Joseph Lewis Virts, whom she married in October of 1859) who had the cabin disassembled from its original site down the hill by the dried-up stream, and placed here, 50 yards uphill, on a modern foundation. (Modern, that is, for the late 1800s. Still doing its job admirably, though.) Perhaps at that point, they began to build out from the back, which addition would eventually evolve into Stately Jingo Manor.
How she came by the place in 1874 is a bit of a mystery, yet to be untangled. The deed, on record at the Leesburg Courthouse, shows several couples (in-laws?), none of whose names ring any bells yet, selling her the place. It was some 25 acres then, which she subdivided and sold half of later. The plot she kept was 12 acres, which was in the 1940s subdivided again, giving us the 8 acres we now infest.
I want to call your particular attention to the date that Sarah and Joseph tied the nuptial knot: October 8, 1859. Can you name a time and place less auspicious to start a life of wedded bliss? Eight days after the Blessed Event, John Brown commenced his antics at Harpers Ferry, a mile and a half upstream from us. I have to imagine Joseph and Sarah, perhaps dewy with amorous sweat after a vigorous honeymoon boffing, sitting and cooling themselves on the front porch on October 16 of that year. Along down the road comes perhaps a tinker, or a passing drummer: "Have you folks heard about what's going on up at the Ferry? Some blessed lunatic has holed himself up in the Armory, hostages and all! What's this world coming to? At any rate, I hear the Federals are on their way up there, soon have the situation under control..."
Under control, indeed.... Two of Sarah's children, Susan Alverda and Rosa Althea (such aromatic names!) were born August 1861 and [no month given] 1863, respectively.
They say that the cannonfire of Sharpsburg was clearly audible here. Gettysburg too, if not so clearly -- probably more like distant thunder.
Helluva time to start raising kids.
Pee Ess: You Loudoun locals: You can do worse than spend a leisurely moment with the Loudoun Aerial Archive. Aerial photos of your very own dear old homestead (or the cornfield where it would be built) from 1937. Don't say I never told you anything useful.